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GOP leader fined for improper contribution to Koering campaign

The Minnesota Campaign and Finance Public Disclosure Board this week fined a Republican Senate leader’s campaign $250 for what was determined to be an improper donation his committee made to the Paul Koering Senate Volunteer Committee.

The committee of Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester, an assistant majority leader, was fined for the contribution. In a response to the board Senjem stated he misunderstood the statute relating to contributions made with campaign funds and acknowledged violating the statute, according to board findings. 

Koering, who was defeated in the Republican primary and then in the general election where he ran as an independent write-in candidate, said Thursday his committee returned the contribution to the Senjem committee.

“It’s just another one of those non-issues,” Koering said. 

During the 2010 campaign, Senjem, formerly the Senate’s minority leader, criticized a Republican Party probe of any possible law enforcement records pertaining to then-Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, as a “witch hunt.”

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel, who had received a request from a party official reported that his department had not had any contact with Koering.

Senjem could not be reached for contact Thursday.

A candidate’s principal campaign committee must not make a contribution to another candidate’s principal campaign committee unless the contributing committee is being dissolved, the board stated. Senjem’s committee was found to have made a $250 contribution to the Koering committee, the board  found. According to the board there was no probable cause to believe the violations were intentional. 

The Koering committee was not penalized for accepting the contribution.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at or 855-5860.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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